LIMA, Peru (AP) -- An American woman serving a life sentence for treason
will not be transferred to another prison despite the hunger strike she has
launched, the prime minister said Tuesday.
Lori Berenson, a New York state native and former Massachusetts Institute
of Technology student, was convicted by a secret military court in 1996 for
helping rebels with the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement
plan a thwarted attack on Peru's Congress.
On Jan. 11, the fourth anniversary of her conviction, Berenson, 30, stopped
eating solid food, taking only liquids.
"Her hunger strike is an unacceptable pressure tactic and she will not
transferred to Yanamayo prison as she has requested," said Prime Minister
Alberto Bustamante, who is also justice minister. Bustamante said doctors
are monitoring Berenson's condition to make sure she remains healthy.
In October 1998, Berenson, was transferred from frigid Yanamayo prison,
12,700 feet (3,810 meters) above sea level, to the lower-lying Socabaya
prison, 465 miles (750 kilometers) southeast of Lima, for health reasons.
Although physical conditions in her new prison are better, she was allowed
more contact with other prisoners in Yanamayo. She has requested to be
returned to Yanamayo in the past.
Yanamayo is a high-security jail for leftist rebel leaders, where inmates
under harsh conditions but have more freedom to socialize.
Berenson has suffered from stomach, eye and skin problems from harsh
prison conditions and Yanamayo's high altitude.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.